THE EDITOR: Punishment of criminals must be swift and severe. Most of us can agree on that, but in order to control crime and maintain lower levels of violence we must also strive for restorative justice.
In our current criminal justice system we tend to equate justice with punishment. When a criminal serves time this gives them the impression that they have paid their debt to society.
Punishment is essential but it does not address the other important needs of victims of horrendous crimes that occur in Trinidad on a regular basis.
It does not always restore their losses and they are still left with many unanswered questions.
Punishment of criminals does not relieve their victims’ fears and insecurities nor does it help them make sense of their loss or heal their wounds.
Most of us can agree that in our current situation crime and violence are exploding out of control in the streets of this nation.
Most also agree that what the current crop of leaders are doing about it is definitely not working.
We are fearful for our lives and we have good reason to be. Many of us have left the country in pursuit of our dreams and are afraid to return.
We know that our criminal justice system is broken, but tragically we don’t know how to fix it and get it working for the benefit of law-abiding citizens.
We must begin fixing our broken system by pursuing first and foremost criminal justice whose primary focus is on the rehabilitation of offenders through reconciliation with victims and the community at large.